AEW Dynamite (Aug. 24, 2022) emanated from the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, OH. The show featured CM Punk versus John Moxley in the AEW World Championship unification bout, PAC & Lucha Bros battling Will Ospreay & Aussie Open in the AEW World Trios Championship tournament, and so much more.
Get caught up on all the Dynamite details with the excellent play-by-play from Claire Elizabeth.
John Moxley is the unified world champion
CM Punk and John Moxley appeared to be on a collision course for All Out to unify the AEW World Championship. There was only room for one man above the company. Things escalated quickly, and the huge match was rushed to take place Dynamite. And then the story was rushed again to give us a winner.
Punk and Moxley entered an electric atmosphere. Dueling chants from the fans broke out before the first lock-up. The two warriors engaged in the center of the ring. Moxley backed Punk into the corner. Punk looked to the referee to request a clean break. Mox let go then unloaded a flurry of punches in defiance. When Punk got up, he slapped Moxley across the face and drove Mox back into the opposite corner with an angry striking attack. The referee separated the scuffle, then Mox took advantage to headbutt Punk over the ref’s shoulder. The ornery attitude created tension at a fever pitch.
Then disaster struck. Punk walloped Moxley upside the head with a roundhouse kick. Punk collapsed in pain as he re-aggravated his surgically repaired foot.
After a moment of confusion to sell the incident, Moxley took Punk to the woodshed to put him out of his misery. King Kong lariat, hammering elbows, and two Death Rider DDTs to finish in a blitz of punishment. Moxley pinned Punk to become the unified world champion.
Punk was escorted out by medical staff and looked back in sadness as Moxley celebrated in the crowd.
Well, that title match was certainly interesting, albeit not satisfying. It was building up nicely for a fantastic confrontation, then it crumbled quickly. I’m left in shock at how it played out especially since it appeared to go that way on purpose. AEW placed this bout in the middle of the program, so this swerve was not related to a time issue. It seems clear that Punk shouldn’t be medically cleared quickly enough for a rematch All Out. The fight was a whirlwind with fans left to pick up the pieces.
Moxley was a beast. I appreciate that he stayed true to character with a cutthroat attitude to get the job done. As a viewer, it was unsatisfying to see Punk hurt himself. It doesn’t feel like there was any resolution to find out who is better. Moxley deserves no blame for that. He played the cards that were dealt and did so in an ass-kicking way.
Moxley cemented his status as the guy in a great victory promo later in the program. Nobody can do what he does in the way he does. Mox’s time is now.
Is John Cena coming to AEW as Moxley’s All Out opponent? I say that jokingly, but, still, what if?
Bogus trios finish
The main event saw Death Triangle compete against Will Ospreay & Aussie Open in an AEW World Trios Championship tournament matchup. The action was fast and furious, however, the finish was bogus.
PAC and Ospreay have history and that set the tone for the match, as explained in this promo.
This bout was in the 25-minute range of duration, and the pace never slowed down. The early story was United Empire keeping PAC on the outside and away from Ospreay in particular. Once PAC entered the match, the level of excitement reached a new high. PAC ran wild with a double dropkick to Aussie Open on the apron and a German suplex to Ospreay. PAC went for a German deadlift, but Ospreay held the ropes. Fenix skipped over for a rope-walking soccer kick to Ospreay so PAC could execute the German suplex.
The match continued with all kinds of crazy moves. Down the stretch, the Lucha Bros and Aussie Open canceled each other out to set the stage for PAC versus Ospreay once again. PAC had momentum for the Black Arrow, but Kyle Fletcher pulled Ospreay to safety before the liftoff. PAC called an audible to leap for a moonsault to the outside instead. That’s when PAC made a bone-headed choice.
PAC spied box-head Kip Sabian in the front row and lost all focus on the match. PAC approached the agitator and pulled off the box. It wasn’t Sabian underneath. Sabian attacked PAC from behind as part of a personal ruse.
With PAC out of the game, United Empire cleaned up on the Lucha Bros to win on a teamwork assisted elevated springboard cutter from Ospreay to Fenix.
That trios contest was wild. The hectic chaos is what the division is all about. I only mentioned a small portion of highlights, because the action was so fast and creative that I quit taking notes at times to soak it all in as a fan. Too bad the shenanigan finish stunk terribly. That’s just my opinion though. Fans chanted in support of Sabian after his appearance, so what do I know. I didn’t like how it had nothing to do with the match. Not to mention PAC looking stupid for completely losing sight of the importance of the bout. And then there’s Sabian returning in a main event angle when he’s not a main event player.
The United Empire advanced to face the Elite in the semifinals. Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks closed the show with a long-distance staredown of their opponents.
Let’s jam through the rest of Dynamite.
Sports entertainer vs. Professional wrestler. Chris Jericho wanted to square things with Daniel Garcia after Garcia put his hands on Jericho last week. Garcia entered without wearing his sports entertainer cap. That wasn’t a good sign. At least Jericho made up for both of them with a sparkly jacket and shiny silver boots.
Jericho understood that Garcia’s adrenaline was running high after the match against Bryan Danielson. Jericho requested a simple apology to squash it. Garcia explained that Jericho ruined his special moment of shaking hands out of respect with his hero. It’s the kind of match he always dreamed of having. Garcia hopes young fans watching at home find that same inspiration. Jericho responded that Garcia will have plenty of moments like that as the greatest technical sports entertainer. Jericho told Garcia to say he is a sports entertainer. Garcia hesitated, so Jericho asked more forcefully.
Enter Danielson to the ring. Danielson and Jericho bickered. Garcia refused to be put on the spot to choose between his mentor and his hero, so he exited. That led to Lionheart versus American Dragon at All Out. It closed with Jake Hager attacking Danielson from behind.
This segment was an up and down ride. On the positive, Garcia did well building a connection for fans to back him. He delivered his speech with passion, probably the most passion he’s shown in all of his AEW career. I’m very eager for another Lionheart match. Danielson will make sure Jericho looks his best. The word play between Jericho and Danielson was witty, especially the setup to attack Hager.
Jay Lethal defeated Dax Harwood. No backup ringside for either man. Top Guy had a sharpshooter in the center of the ring, so Sonjay Dutt ran out as a distraction. Harwood and Lethal tussled a little. Harwood scooped a roll-up, but Lethal grabbed the tights to reverse position and secure the victory.
This was a very enjoyable match. The aggressive intensity hooked me. A few cool sequences kept me, such as the figure-four sharpshooter counter dance and Harwood blocking a Lethal Injection for a slingshot Liger bomb. The sneaky win by Lethal felt right for the story. It builds more desire to see Lethal get served at All Out.
Motor City Machine Guns in AEW. After the match was the real popper. Dutt explained that there will be a trios match, but he won’t be wrestling in it. Dutt called in close friends to help Lethal. The Motor City Machine Guns music hit the big screen.
Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley through the Forbidden Door from Impact is so awesome. That was a genuine surprise and turned a ho-hum PPV bout into a potential show-stealer. I’m really hoping this leads to FTR versus MCMG for the ROH tag titles.
Thunder Rosa injured. The champion announced that she will not be able to defend the AEW Women’s World Championship at All Out due to injury. A four-way was booked involving Tony Storm, Dr. Britt Baker DMD, Jamie Hayter, and Hikaru Shida for the interim title.
Sad moment seeing a champion injured. I guess Thunder Rosa won’t be out that long, since they are running with an interim belt. The replacement bout is great on paper with unpredictability on the winner. Baker is the safe choice. Storm is the most interesting choice setting up a future showdown with her friend. Hayter is the choice to make a new star. She has the skills in the ring and just needs the push. Shida is the wild card.
Father vs. Number: Colten Gunn defeated Billy Gunn. The Acclaimed and Austin Gunn were ringside. Stokely Hathaway was in the front row. Max Caster rapped about Billy wishing he wore a condom.
Billy roughhoused Colten around the ring. He viciously stomped a mudhole in Colten in the corner. Referee Aubrey Edwards separated the action and chastised Billy for pounding his own thigh. I say that Edwards needs to be suspended for not being impartial. Her words directly affected the flow of the match. Billy calmed down, then calamity broke out. Hathaway cracked the Acclaimed’s boombox on Caster. Austin rammed Anthony Bowens into the ring steps. Colten struck with a low blow then pinned Billy on a Colt 45 double underhook swinging neckbreaker.
Afterwards, the Ass Boys accepted Hathaway’s business cards. They put the boots to Billy and his adopted sons. Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee ran out for the save. That interaction was important later when Swerve In Our Glory offered a tag title shot to the Acclaimed at All Out.
Billy is a beast, and I love him. The conflicted emotion of stomping ass added a layer of drama. This story was also part of the voyage for Hathaway to recruit his new crew. He now has Lee Moriarty, Ethan Page, and the Ass Boys as presumed clients. On the back half, AEW squeezed in the PPV tag title bout. It makes sense with the tag team top 5 headed by busy FTR and Young Bucks. Someone has to step up, so might as well be the Acclaimed. Too bad there is zero heat for that match at this point in time.
Dr. Britt Baker DMD defeated KiLynn King. King had another strong showing with momentum towards victory, then Baker kicked into high gear to finish with the Lockjaw submission.
Afterwards, Baker mocked Thunder Rosa’s injury. Baker had no sympathy. She wrestled her entire title reign with a broken wrist. That’s what a champion does. Baker made fun of Tony Storm. When Storm answered the call, Hayter attacked from behind. Hikaru Shida brought a kendo stick to make the save. Baker & Hayter versus Storm & Shida was booked for next week.
Paint by numbers manner to hype the PPV bout. I’m not saying it’s good or bad. It is what it is for a match AEW wasn’t expecting with Thunder Rosa’s injury.
Notes: Christian Cage accepted Jungle Boy’s challenge for All Out. JB will find out that he will never be in Christian’s league. Humorous promo with Christian’s convenient double standards and insults for the crowd.
Ricky Starks spoke from the heart with fire about his trusted friend turning on him. Will Hobbs is a lowdown snake. Starks will cut the head off that snake in a match at All Out.
Stud of the Show: John Moxley
Match of the Night: Jay Lethal vs. Dax Harwood
Meat and potatoes professional wrestling seasoned well. It was the kind of match that I imagine Bret Hart would have enjoyed.
This was a tough episode to call. The show was full of twists and turns, but it was also confusing at times. It feels like we’re lacking insider knowledge for why some of these decisions were made, such as the Punk injury angle. While AEW took a lot of chances this evening, I wasn’t feeling many of them. When it comes down to it, my lasting memories are the sour notes of Punk and Sabian. On the other hand, I could understand a different point of view with a high grade.
Share your thoughts about Dynamite. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?